Soulmate is a gorgeously shot, tear-stained love letter to female friendship that also provides a fascinating look into contemporary, urban China.
Ansheng (Zhou Dongyu, Under the Hawthorn Tree) and Lin Qiyue aka July (Ma Sichun) have been friends since childhood but they find the currents of life pushing them in different directions. Ansheng is a rootless free spirit while July is a studious careerist. Their relationship becomes complicated by the presence of Su Jia-ming (Toby Lee), a man emotionally torn between the two of them.
It all culminates in a rather surprising ending while along the way director Derek Tsang offers glimpses of the back streets of Shanghai and Beijing, away from the gleaming skyscrapers and sprawling factories that are often the image of China these days.
There’s a palpable connection between Zhou and Ma as actresses so that even when Soulmate threatens to teeter from moving to maudlin, it doesn’t cross that line.
Ultimately, the deliriously rhapsodic Soulmate uses a very specific sense of time and place to tell a universal story.
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Exclusive: AMC Grapevine Mills
☆☆☆☆ (out of five)
Director: Derek Tsang
Cast: Zhou Dongyu, Ma Sichun
Running time: 109 min.